Just Google It
In high school, a classmate’s grandfather would say, “Now we’re cooking with gas!” to mean, I think, “Now we’re rolling along, getting things done with modern rapidity.” The comedy being it wasn’t even electricity yet; gas was just a step above wood. I’ve repeated this for 35 years and no one got it until recently when a woman replied, “My mother used to say that.” If you’ve read this humble column, you may think I don’t care whether people know what I’m talking about. But it is rewarding when they do.
In college, a friend would sigh, “We live and learn,” when something went amiss. I dug it, but we were only 18. How much wisdom were we really nailing down at that point?
When asked for their most and least favorite expressions, people respond with an alarming if thrilling vigor. I offer you my favorites plus a random sampling from the nutters I call friends. Some were unprintable. Some made the cut. Let’s start with modern expressions.
Girls make this charming new sound when they see something cute, akin to the “Cha!?” of indignation from the 90s. I can’t get the sound into print without using a musical scale, so if you see me at the bar at Harrington House I’ll do it for you. I also like when, say, a guy going on a date comes down the stairs dressed like a loser or weirdo, and his friends greet him with, “Seriously?” Seriously? is akin to Really?, which a New York friend detests: “Really? has freaking taken over. To express irate incredulity…” [The rest is unprintable; basically, she’s mad but using it herself uncontrollably.]
I myself loathe the modern Just Google it. Oh? You mean there’s a place I can go besides you for information? Something called the I-n-t-e-r-n-e-t where one can learn f-a-c-t-s? Oklahoma, OK! Why would I expect you to explain what you’re talking about when I can just go “look it up?” Are you my parent and I’m in sixth grade? But onto the real winners.
UVG Lervs: A snowball’s chance in Hell; Hell’s bells; Like watching paint dry; The inmates are running the prison; Every which way from Sunday; She’s a real ticket/pistol; rough sledding; My money’s on (whomever is more likely to win the improbable competition just suggested); No walk in the park; Let the fur fly; barnburner; sandbagger; I could care less (false positive); She’s got a bee in her bonnet; I don’t want to throw ants on your picnic but; As crazy as the day is long; Geez Louise; While we’re young! (said angrily to person in charge by people on a long line going nowhere); Box your own weight (dating); He caught the bullet; Driving the porcelain bus/Talking to Ralph on the big white phone (hurling); I’ve got to see a man about a horse.
Contributors Lerv: Your barn door is open; I’m not dead yet; All Hell broke loose; Going to Hell in a hand basket; Put the pedal to the metal; MacGyver it; He’s a friend of Dorothy; As welcome as a skunk at a lawn party; It’s colder than a witch’s [cold part]; Not for nothing; In a New York minute; Having one’s knickers in a twist; You’re the bomb; She has a face that could stop a clock; I need an adult (film industry-ese for: “I need a higher-up/decision maker.”); To a man with a hammer, every problem is a nail to pound; hot mess; Older than dirt; Having more money than God; Paying through the nose; He could talk a dog off a meat wagon; Lie down with dogs, get up with fleas; Catch more flies with honey than vinegar; and, of course, That’s what s/he said.
Crazy: A couple cards short of a full deck; A few sandwiches shy of a picnic; She doesn’t have all her cups in the cupboard; One bubble off plumb.
Vermonty: Wicked (as adverb); Yeah it does; Clear as mud; The illogical but addictive So don’t I when one is actually in agreement.
Military: SOL; Loose cannon; Whisky Tango Foxtrot.
Tree surgery: Mind the angle of the dangle.
Southern: There’s still a little chicken left on that bone (when someone misses a putt); Wanna come with?; He’s just as smart as he can be (i.e. not that smart).
Contributors Hate: It is what it is; Bring your A game; The Grass is always greener; Nudge, nudge, wink, wink; That’s the ticket; Get used to it; Don’t go there.
Confusing to me or others: Sleeping like a baby (did ya sleep well or not?); No skin off my teeth; This fish is either real smart or real dumb (Quint in Jaws – suggested by krazy friend, am unsure of its applications); I can’t afford spats for a hummingbird (Robert Blake in an interview, among other oddities).
What do these mean? Hey, what am I, some kind of source of information? For the love of [deity], just Google it. Good day.
Unprintable submissions, more or less in order of ascending foulness
Mother of God; holy mother of God; holy balls (Catholic grandma’s—I can only hope it was the “great balls of fire” type of balls); holy Hell; Jesus, Mary and Joseph; that really chaps my ass/burns my fanny; as welcome as a turd in a punch bowl; as useful as tits on a bull; as tight as a hawk’s ass in a power dive; busier than a one-armed paperhanger with crabs; he’s got a bug up his ass; they’re blowing smoke up your ass; Christ on a cracker; shit on a shingle; when the shit hits the fan; shit for brains; shitting like a goose; built like a brick shit house; shit sandwich; [Doing something for] shits and giggles; Are you shitting me? — and it’s Elizabethan cousin, “I shit you not.” (Which, according to my Shakespeare expert, should really be, “I shit thee not.” ); I’d tap that.
I leave you with a friend’s gorgeous rant on a hated expression
The most inane and therefore the most popular is “It is what it is.” Not only is this expression redundant – -“It is” would do the trick — it is entirely unhelpful as an observation when your initial question was “What the fuck is it?” I think the expression gained popularity after Bill Clinton proposed in his Lewinsky scandal defense “that depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ is,” and totally blew our minds. “Is” was debatable then. Now it’s not, and neither is “it.”
Ann Aikens can be reached via Facebook (ann.aikens.7), e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter at @uvgvt (http://twitter.com/uvgvt), or her blog at www.uppervalleygirl.wordpress.com. Comments welcome.